1 Peter – Chapter One XXXIX

by Ed Urzi

“as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance” (1 Peter 1:14).

“Obedience” is a difficult concept in many respects. On one hand, we often have little difficulty in obeying those rules that pertain to something we enjoy. In addition, many of us are perfectly willing to live in obedience to a regulation or directive that benefits us in some way. However, it is more difficult to live in obedience to an authority figure, a rule that inconveniences us, or ultimately, to God Himself.

This may explain the enduring popularity of fictional accounts that feature heroic characters who overcome the forces of oppression. Those forces are often associated with an attitude of insolence, arrogance, and hubris- and since it is always gratifying to see arrogance humbled, it’s easy to see why such narratives remain so popular.

It is not uncommon to find similar attitudes among human authorities as well. However, it would be a mistake to assume that our negative experiences with self-important authority figures also apply to Christ. You see, Jesus sets a very different precedent in this area…

“So Jesus went back with them to Nazareth, where he was obedient to [Mary and Joseph]…” (Luke 2:51 GNT).

“For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me” (John 6:38).

“…being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:8).

We should also consider Jesus’ attitude of humility as demonstrated at the Last Supper…

“So (Jesus) got up from the table and took off his robes. Picking up a linen towel, he tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he was wearing…

After he washed the disciples’ feet, he put on his robes and returned to his place at the table. He said to them, ‘Do you know what I’ve done for you? You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you speak correctly, because I am. If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet. I have given you an example: Just as I have done, you also must do'” (John 13:4-5, 12-15 CEB).

So if we chafe at this directive from 1 Peter 1:14 and its admonition to act “as obedient children,” we should remember that Jesus is the one who leads by example in this area.